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Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s Smash hit

Cabaret Festival

Broadway and television star Megan Hilty promises a show full musical theatre highlights, American songbook classics and Smash hits when she makes her Adelaide debut at the 2016 Cabaret Festival.

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New York-based Hilty – who has starred in musicals such as Wicked and 9 to 5, as well as the TV series Smash – has been announced as one of the headliners for the June festival, alongside acts including burlesque icon Dita Von Teese,  Jersey Boys star Bobby Fox and British chanteuse Barb Jungr.

“I hear that everybody loves musical theatre in Australia,” Hilty tells InDaily from the US.

“I have never visited Australia before. We have been trying to set something up for years now and it hasn’t worked out timing-wise because of work and I’m so excited we finally get to come.”

Hilty will perform one show only at the Festival Theatre on June 12 with an ensemble comprising four musicians, including her guitar player husband Brian Gallagher and pianist Matt Cusson. She says it will feature songs from throughout her career, including from the musicals Wicked, 9 to 5, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Annie Get Your Gun.

Audiences can also expect a taste of Hilty’s solo album, It Happens All the Time, and a new release out this month which includes songs such as “They Just Keep Moving the Line” and “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” from Smash, the Golden Globe-nominated TV show in which she plays Ivy Lynn, an actress desperate to land the lead in a musical about Marilyn Monroe.

Hilty, who started out training to be an opera singer until she scored her breakthrough role as Glinda in Wicked, has also appeared on television shows such as Bones, The Closer and Desperate Housewives, as well as doing voice work for Disney and DreamWorks animations.

“I feel really lucky to have some sort of balance between all of them,” she says of her varied roles.

“I started working in Wicked right out of college and that was a huge game-changer – it set the course for the rest of my career. And Smash just kind of took things to a different level.

“I’m grateful for all of it, but those two really opened doors for me that I didn’t think were possible.”

She is also grateful to be able to tour with husband Gallagher, with whom she now has a one-year-old daughter.

”It is the greatest luxury, I guess, because one of the only drawbacks about leaving your home [to tour] is that you miss your loved ones, but in our case we get to explore the world together and we get to sing together and play together every night.

“It’s nauseatingly romantic!”

The 2016 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, to run from June 10-25, is the first curated by new joint artistic directors Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect, who say that rather than showcasing “what cabaret is”, they decided to explore “what cabaret could be” with a program including political satire, theatre, songbook songs, storytelling, burlesque and comedy.

“We’re excited to invite our audience along to have a conversation with us about where cabaret is, where it’s going, and how it can so intimately and effectively tell us something about who we are,” Perfect says.

McGregor says they have selected artists they love: “A group of people who are taking this genre and developing it into the most visceral, poignant and sometimes anarchic art form.”

The program features more than 425 artists, including 42 international performers.

Highlights include:

Dita Von Teese’s Burlesque: Strip, Strip Hooray! A 90-minute variety show in which Von Teese will be joined by MC Murray Hill (Club Swizzle) and a cast of burlesque acts.

Dita Von Teese. Photo: Kaylin Idora

Dita Von Teese. Photo: Kaylin Idora

Bobby Fox – 4 Seasons in 1 Night: The star of Jersey Boys performs favourite Frankie Valli songs.

Tripod with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra: A “love letter to gaming” showcasing Tripod’s songwriting talents.

Barb Jungr – Hard Rain: The British chanteuse interprets the works of songwriters Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

Ali McGregor – Decadence: “Torch songs, jazz reworkings and trashy mash-ups”, sung with accompaniment by pianist Sam Keevers.

Ali McGregor. Photo: Alan Moyle

Ali McGregor. Photo: Alan Moyle

The Juliet Letters, featuring Zephyr Quartet: Adelaide premiere of a song cycle reflecting on the dying art of letter writing, starring Michaela Burger, Cameron Goodall, Jude Henshall and Jamie Newell.

Songs for the Fallen: Sheridan Harbridge presents the wild tale of  Parisian party girl Marie Duplessis.

Kate Ceberano and Paul Grabowsky – Love Songs: former Cabaret Festival artistic director Kate Ceberano returns with former Adelaide Festival artistic director Paul Grabowsky to reinterpret some of the great love songs of the past 50 years.

Starman: European singer Sven Ratzke channels the world of ’70s glam rock with a show inspired by the music of David Bowie.

Sven Ratzke in Starman. Photo: Hanneke Wetzer

Sven Ratzke in Starman. Photo: Hanneke Wetzer

The Birds: Performance artists Finucane & Smith (the company behind 2015 Adelaide Fringe show Glory Box) present an 18+ gothic, erotic variety show described as “Edgar Allen Poe meets late night Paris”.

Ms Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton: Fischer – who featured in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom and was back-up singer for artists such as Tina Turner and Chaka Khan – takes centre-stage in a performance of favourite songs with soul trio Grand Baton.

The Last Galah: In addition to the annual Variety Gala Performance showcasing a range of acts at the beginning of the festival, this year’s event will also feature a closing night show presented by McGregor and Perfect call The Last Galah, with performances from local and international artists celebrating Australian songwriting.

The 2015 Adelaide Cabaret Festival will run from June 10-25.

 

 

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